A viral video of French police detaining protesting high school students “execution style” has sparked outrage, just one day ahead of planned protests across the country which were already anticipated to be particularly violent.
The footage shows the moment dozens of students protesting education reform in Mantes-la-Jolie in north-central France were arrested on Thursday – most of whom were teens from local high schools.
D’autres images de l’interpellation de dizaines de lycéens, aujourd’hui à Mantes-la-Jolie. pic.twitter.com/ghv8K91e7l
— Violences Policières (@Obs_Violences) December 6, 2018
The video, released Thursday night by the Twitter account Violences Policières (Police Violence), has been viewed over 2 million times in less than 24 hours. Many of the replies suggested that it looked like “execution by firing squad” and “hostage taking.”
— Cath 💪🇫🇷🤘φ (@bloody1375) December 7, 2018
The imagery of unarmed French teens following orders from heavily armed police is not likely to sit well with angry French citizens the day before “Act IV” of “Yellow Vest” protests are scheduled for Paris and elsewhere – leading to the deployment of 89,000 police and gendarmes across the country, according to the Prime Minister. At least 8,000 riot police will be deployed in Paris alone.
One angry Paris taxi driver called for Macron’s “scalp” in a half-hour monologue, according to Bloomberg.
“We’re going out there to fight,” he said, adding: “I want Macron’s scalp, I’m not afraid of anything. I have nothing to lose. You have to risk your life or you don’t get anything from these people.“
The self-employed cab driver in his 40s, who declined to provide his name, was one of the thousands of protesters who fought the police on Paris’s landmark Champs-Elysees avenue last weekend. Throwing cobblestones, burning cars, desecrating the Arc de Triomphe monument, breaking store windows and looting, images of the rioters shocked viewers across the globe. The protests forced Macron to suspend the fuel-tax plan, but that hasn’t appeased everyone. –Bloomberg
The cabbie plans to “try to break into to the very tightly guarded Elysee presidential palace, just half a mile away from Paris’s best-known avenue. He is one of the people that Macron’s office has warned want to “riot and kill.””
For people like the taxi driver, there’s no limit when it comes to removing the youngest French leader since Napoleon who, as the country’s economy minister between 2014 and 2016, deregulated the taxi business and was a strong supporter of car-booking apps.
“He ruined us, he broke our business,” the taxi driver said. “He wants everything new, digital, the new world, and he did it all without thinking of the cost for us. Replace everyone, have everything young, new? Yeah, well that’s not how you do things. Now it’s payback time.” –Bloomberg
The taxi driver has organized along with friends via social media platforms, using WhatsApp and then Telegram when the WhatsApp chat limited them to “only a few hundred people in a group.”
One of the groups he’s in is called “Combat Taxis” or the Taxi Fight. Another was dubbed “Saturday Fight.” They won’t register their demonstration plans with the police as legally required, nor obey the Interior Ministry’s order not to go to the Champs-Elysees avenue. –Bloomberg
The outrage across France comes after the Macron government announced a new fuel tax aimed at combatting Global Warming – right as France has overtaken Denmark as the most heavily taxed nation in the world.
Macron’s popularity, meanwhile is at a record low – slipping to just 23% in a recent poll as left-wing French politicians have agreed to work together across parties to call for a No Confidence vote against the President.